Catherine Disney (1800-1853) is known as the ‘lost love’ of the Irish
mathematician Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865), but about herself
little is known. Based on what Hamilton wrote about her and scraps of
information which were found on various places, extended with
conclusions which could be drawn from known events, this is a sketch of
how she fell in love with Hamilton in 1824, what the motives may have
been for her family to force her to marry the reverend William Barlow
(1792-1871), what may have triggered her suicide attempt in 1848 after
which she did not live with Barlow any more, and how she spoke with
Hamilton shortly before she died. In these two interviews she could
finally tell Hamilton that she had also loved him. In the last
chapters it is discussed how Catherine’s unhappiness seems to have
influenced her eldest son, James Barlow (1826-1913), and through him
also her granddaughter Jane Barlow (1856-1917).
This sketch is supplementary to the essay A Victorian Marriage : Sir William Rowan Hamilton. But being self-contained, it can also be read on its own.